It’s getting stranger and stranger around the Vikings these days. The Adrian Peterson soap opera just seems to keep spinning faster and faster out of control with each passing day.
The saga began last year when word got out that a second grand jury was empaneled in Texas (the first grand jury declined to come down with an indictment), bringing up Peterson on felony child abuse charges. That rendering came down days after the regular season opener and nothing has been the same since.
Peterson was given what proved to be a 48-hour suspension from the Vikings before being reinstated at one of the most awkward press conference this side of Brett Favre’s 2010 texting scandal. The situation hit a flashpoint – one that it now appears is the point of no return.
After announcing Peterson’s in-house reinstatement, something needed to be done in the P.R. nightmare that ensued. The rarely used CBA inclusion of the Commissioner’s Exempt List went from zero players to three in the matter of a couple of days, as Peterson, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy were rounded up like the usual suspects and placed on the exempt list.
Under the explained by the NFL, only the commissioner had the power to remove Peterson from the list. In other words, the Vikings were essentially turning control of the situation over the league. That meant Peterson would remain on the list unitl his legal proceedings were adjudicated. Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and, by all accounts, has lived up to all of the stipulations put in the plea agreement. But it wouldn’t end there.
The league then imposed a six-game suspension that wiped out the remainder of his 2015 season, with the suspension expected to last at least until April 15 – barring a reversal of Roger Goodell’s ruling by a Minneapolis district court judge. From a legal standpoint, it has appeared as though the NFL has acted unilaterally and on the fly with the decisions it has made in this situation. Even convicted felons are typically credited with time served while in lockup imposed by the authorities in charge.
Where this case is getting stranger by the day has been in the rhetoric being spoken. Recently promoted Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren went on record as saying he would welcome Peterson back. Considering that numerous reports on how and why the NFL took the steps it did in the context of the punishment phase, Warren’s name has surfaced multiple times as being the loudest dissenting voice in the Vikings front office that said “tap the brakes” on the enthusiasm and positivity about a Peterson return. His recent endorsement made it look as though the Vikings and Peterson had a chance for reconciliation. Professions of love and support from Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer followed.
All that was missing was a circle joining hands and singing “Kumbaya.”
But the goodwill has been replaced by escalated bad feelings. Peterson told ESPN he is “uneasy” about returning to the Vikings – even at full salary, which is a bit ironic considering he was being paid full wages while on the exempt list. He went on to lay out his issues with the organization, including his wife’s misgivings about remaining in Minnesota, since she was also subject to the TMZ media frenzy that accompanies bad news.
In recent days, Peterson’s dad has weighed in. Former NFL G.M.’s have broken up an alleged dust-up between the two closest guys to a contract negotiation. This reality show has gone ugly.
Given recent developments, the best thing that could happen for the Vikings and A.P. is that Judge David Doty says the NFL overstepped its bounds.
At least A.P.’s workplace emancipation will grease the wheels to finding a cliffhanger resolution to the current soap opera playing itself out. The people that have to work together, most importantly Peterson and Zimmer, along with Spielman and Warren could talk face to face and see if peace could be reached.
Depending on where you land on that topic, that resolution can be good or bad.
The only sure thing is that the resolution will be final – for better or worse.
Best news would be quick ruling from Doty
Viking Update Top Stories
Harrison Smith: No reason for changeThe Minnesota Vikings’ perfect season hit a brick wall Sunday at Philadelphia, but safety Harrison Smith said the panic on the outside of Winter Park isn't being shared on the…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 2:44 PM
Munnerlyn likes Cutler’s risk-taking waysCaptain Munnerlyn likened Jay Cutler to Brett Favre, calling him a “gunslinger,” but Cutler was at his best when he conformed last year.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:32 AM
Did Vikings have bounty system?In a new book released recently, the claim is made that the Minnesota Vikings had a bounty system in place at the same time the Saints were eventually swept up in the Bountygate…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:25 AM
Fusco: O-line problems correctableAs players and coaches watched film of Sunday's loss to Philadelphia, more than a few them got an uneasy feeling. Not because the Eagles dominated them as much as it appeared, but…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 4:15 AM